Mike Mitchell Talks Championship Mentality, Playing Role Of Enforcer

Earlier this week, Mike Mitchell was on The Jim Rome Show talking about the Pittsburgh Steelers, their recent performance, and his role on the team, which involves in part being an enforcer. Say what you will about his play on the field, but he always makes for a good interview, speaking with clarity, intelligence, and passion.

One of the things that he discussed was the defense’s dissatisfaction with their nine-point showing against the Vikings. “We still did a good job of taking care of the run game and limiting them in the pass game”, he said, “but there were still a lot of plays that we left out there. There was a third-and-20 conversion that I had a hand in giving up, and then they proceeded to score”.

“We like to be as stingy as we can, so on a day like today especially, we’re going to look at the tape and be very critical, because the goal for us is to win a world championship”, Mitchell told Jim Rome. “We know what it’s like the lose in the AFC Championship to the eventual champions, we know the steps we need to take and that’s where our focus is”.

Asked if that puts added, unnecessary pressure on the players, he said, “being a true competitor, what are you in the game for if not to win championships, to win as many as you can? For a guy like me and for every guy on this football team, we’re a bunch of likeminded guys. Our goal when we wake up is to be a world champion”.

He said that it is simply the way that things are done in Pittsburgh. “That’s the way we think. That’s the way our organization thinks. That’s the way our coaches think. That’s the way our owners think. That’s the way that we go about our day-to-day business”.

Part of his day-to-day business also involves a bit of violence, which he talked about as well, contrasting it with another passion of his, MMA fighting. “Being violent is a byproduct of what I’m ultimately trying to do”, he said, the means rather than the end itself. “What I’m ultimately trying to do is get a man on the ground if he’s running the ball or break up a pass if a pass is thrown. I’m not particularly trying to hurt anyone”.

But he acknowledged that it is an unavoidable aspect of the job. “That sometimes unfortunately happens based on the way that I do play and just the violent nature of the game. You know, sometimes receivers duck”. We saw that a couple of times in the season opener, in fact.

But he noted, “if you look at over the course of my career, I think I’m one of the guys that’s gotten exponentially better at not hitting people in the head and KOing…I had a really good one in the Browns game. I had one just yesterday in the game on [Kyle Rudolph]”.

“I’m skilled”, he said. “I’m not just a guy that’s out there running around without any control. I’m skilled, I’m aiming where I’m hitting and I’m hitting guys in the body legally”. And he is right about that, both in terms of his current success in delivering big hits cleanly and in terms of the fact that he has improved in doing so over the years.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • John A Stewart

    This is the same guy who missed that tackle on Cook, boy I really miss Troy.

  • Jones

    A lot of teams with very good safeties would miss Troy if he had retired from there. Troy was a once in a generation type of player. Just because MM isn’t Troy (no one is), doesn’t mean he’s not a very serviceable safety (he is).

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    Everybody…including Troy misses/missed tackles in the NFL. Mitchell in my mind is better than solid. Borderline pro bowler.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    He’s an above average starter, but he does a lot of bad things because he is out of position. He is playing free safety instead of strong safety. Because of this, a lot of his angles are poor and he doesn’t quite have the speed needed of a free safety. He plays better closer to the line. If he and Davis were to switch roles, it would alleviate many problems.

    Davis is faster, has more range, and while he needs a lot of work himself is more suited to the free safety role.

  • Orlysteel

    This is one tough mother, this defense will be feared once again.

  • #beatthepats

    Well said, and add the fact he doesnt have good “ball skills”

  • nutty32

    Pounding WRs, catch or no catch, always pays off. Dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it. Guys like AJ Green don’t even want to catch the ball after a while; he gets his big checks regardless.

  • Conserv_58

    Mike may not be Troy or a pro bowler, but I like his approach to playing the game.

  • Jason Dock Dudley

    they already switch roles and are interchangeable.

  • Jason Dock Dudley

    This guy gets so much hate from the Steeler fan base.

  • Steve

    Why do you think that is?

  • Steve

    Mitchell can hit hard, but he needs to wrap up better to bring the player down.

  • John A Stewart

    What ? Lol

  • John A Stewart

    He’s average not as good as he talks.

  • John A Stewart

    Well said

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    Love the guy and alot of the hate for him is IMO unwarranted. He’s done everything asked to do and then some. Plays hurt, but leads by example. Hitting with force should be underestimated.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Kind of a weird thing to trigger missed feelings of Polamalu. He certainly missed his fair share of tackles.

  • Jones

    He offers more to the Steelers than you do to this comments section…

  • John A Stewart

    True but he missed more at the end of his career.

  • John A Stewart

    Another tough guy behind his pink keyboard.

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    If 21 stays healthy and 25 continues his ascent it will free up 23 to hawk and hit. Think about it Troy was unconventional at best so he had to adjust on the fly while learning a new D. Then journey men at CB and last year a rookie at SS who looks tremendous. Secondaries operate as a whole.

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    Early on, his poor angles to the ball were negated by a burst that was unbelievable and he often guessed wrong when playing close to the line. Still a 1st ballot IMHO!

  • dany

    what’s wrong with pink keyboards?